Want to Start a Business in the U.S.? The Most Common Investment Visas. What are the Visas Available for Starting a Business in the U.S.?

By August 10, 2017October 29th, 2020E-2 Visa, Immigration, Investor Visas

E-2 Visa or E-1 Visa (Treaty Investor or Trader)

An E-2 visa allows nationals from certain countries to either buy or start a business in the U.S.. The applicant must meet the following criteria:

  1. Only nationals from certain countries are eligible. (click here to find out more)
  2. The applicant must invest a substantial amount in the U.S. (click here to find out more)
  3. The business must hire U.S. workers. (click here to find out more)
  4. The application normally requires a business plan (click here to find out more)
  5. The business must be real and operating (either started or close to starting operations) (click here to find out more)
  6. The applicant must show that the funds used to invest come from a legitimate source. (click here to find out more)
  7. The applicant must agree to leave the U.S. once the visa is no longer valid (click here to find out more)

You can find out more about the E-2 visa requirements by clicking here.

You can find out more about our E-2 visa services by clicking here.

An E-1 Visa is similar to the E-2 visa except that it is based on trade between the U.S. and the Treaty country and an investment and employees are not required. Instead, the trade between the two countries must be significant.

You can find out more about the E-1 visa requirements by clicking here.

EB-5 Visa (EB-5 Investor Green Card)

The EB-5 visa is a green card and is often referred to as the $1,000,000 green card.  In order to get this visa an applicant can invest in a regional center or start or invest in a business.  The applicant must invest either $500,000 or $1,000,000, depending on where the business is located (businesses in high unemployment areas or rural areas may invest the lower amount).  After the investment has been made, the company that the investor invests in must create 10 full-time jobs in a 2 year period.  The program is currently being evaluated and is likely to be changed on September 30th, 2017 and the most likely change will be an increase in the investment amounts to $800,000 and $1,2000,000.

You can find out more about the EB-5 program by clicking here.

L-1 Visa (Intercompany Transfer and New Office)

Some entrepreneurs have existing businesses in their home countries and work at those businesses. An L visa (L-1A or L-1B) allows for the set-up of a business or new office in the U.S. and allows the transfer of employees to that entity. The employees (this can include the owner) must have worked for the foreign entity for at least 1 year and a qualifying relationship must exist between the foreign entity and the U.S. entity.  In addition, the person being transferred must be a manager, executive of have specialized knowledge.

You can find out more about the L-1 visa by clicking here.

H-1B Visa (Self-Employment H-1B Visa)

An often overlooked investor visa is the H-1B visa.  An entrepreneur can use this visa to set up a business as long as a valid employer-employee relationship exists between the entrepreneur and the business entity.   This usually involves designating a board and giving the board the ability to evaluate and terminate the applicant.  The H-1B for a self-employed applicant is subject to the same H1-B quota and lottery system as regular H-1B applicants.

You can find out more about the self-employed H-1B Visa by clicking here.

National Interest Waiver (NIW) (EB-2 Green Card)

The National Interest Waiver is a green card category (EB-2) that allows an entrepreneur to apply for a green card based on their business venture and entrepreneurial skills.  The applicant must have an advanced degree or demonstrate extraordinary ability and must also show that the endeavor has national benefit.  To show a national benefit, the applicant must show the following:

  1. The foreign national’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance
  2. The foreign national is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor
  3. On balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer and thus of a labor certification.

A case that was decided in December of 2016 has expanded this category and has made it one that is now available to entrepreneurs.

You can find out more about the NIW requirements by clicking here.

Entrepreneurship Parole Program

This program is currently under review and the Trump administration has suspended the July 18th, 2017 implementation date.  We hope that the program will be implemented in the future but the future is unclear.

You can find out more about the current form of this program here.

You can find out more about the program delay by clicking here.

You can set up a consultation by clicking the link below.


To find out more about our services and fees contact Scott Legal, P.C

This website and blog constitutes attorney advertising.  Do not consider anything in this website or blog legal advice and nothing in this website constitutes an attorney-client relationship being formed.  Set up a one-hour consultation with us before acting on anything you read here. Past results are no guarantee of future results and prior results do not imply or predict future results.  Each case is different and must be judged on its own merits.

Click here for your free White Paper that summarizes the top 10 Immigration Questions and Answers.

Leave a Reply

We are happy to offer our E-2 visa guide that describes the E-2 visa requirements, and other advise to assist with your E-2 visa application.
For more info visit our E-2 visa service Page or schedule a consultation so we can handle your E-2 visa process.  You can also sign up for a Free E-2 Visa Webinar here.